Conservative Podcast Debuts In People’s Republic, By: Suzanne LaBarre

Tuesday March 14, 2006

It starts like any other lo-fi college radio production. 

The host introduces himself and his colleagues, all decorated with important titles. One is the executive producer or the production manager—he hasn’t quite decided yet.  

There’s a cursory nod to the recording room, the basement of somebody’s dorm. The host proclaims a lofty mission: “My show is about whatever I find interesting in life.” 

Then he gets down to business. 

“Affirmative action sounds like a great idea, gun control sounds like a great idea, high minimum wage and peace in the Middle East both sound like these nice, fluffy, flowery ideas,” he says. “But the bottom line is that affirmative action slows the growth of the black middle class, gun control has a direct relationship to increased crime rates, a higher wage has a correlation to greater job loss, and peace in the Middle East fails to acknowledge that there are evil people who feel that virgins are waiting for them in heaven if they kill Americans.” 

Meet Alex Marlow, UC Berkeley sophomore, political science major, unabashed conservative. 

On Feb. 27, Marlow, 20, and a team of five fellow students recorded the first podcast of The Alex Marlow Show, a production of the newly formed campus group California Patriot Radio. Patriot Radio is affiliated with UC Berkeley’s conservative publication, the California Patriot. 

The show finds Marlow, a self-declared “Republitarian” with a gift for bluster, opining on everything from liberal bias on the UC campus to the absurdity of student health flyers that prioritize body image over healthy eating.  

He fearlessly calls out professors for presenting single-sided debates in the classroom. In one course, an instructor uses the term “African-American” to describe people of Haitian descent. Marlow insists the label is patronizing and incorrect.  

“When are the prefixes going to stop, ladies and gentlemen?” he says. “There’s nothing wrong with calling someone black, but the suggestion that African-Americans, so to speak, are anything less than full-fledged Americans is totally condescending.…  

“It’s stupidity. It’s political correctness and it’s the exact kind of thing going on here at the University of California Berkeley.” 

Marlow is not your typical conservative. Raised by ex-hippies-turned-Republicans in liberal West Los Angeles, Marlow is fittingly “soft” on social issues. He doesn’t think abortion should be banned, and he’s convinced the war on drugs would do best to wave a white flag. 

Still, his penchant for blasting affirmative action, body image discourse and the use of university dues for financial aid is enough to send most liberal Cal students running for their dog-eared copy of A People’s History of the United States.  

It doesn’t look like they’re tuning in anyway. 

Of 13 comments posted on the California Patriot website, 13 on the radio program’s MySpace.com page and four on Marlow’s blog, alexmarlow.blogspot.com, feedback has come entirely from fellow conservatives offering unflinching support. 

Many are outside Berkeley’s ivory tower. 

Among natives who are well aware that UC Berkeley harbors a 600- to 650-member strong Republican club, Patriot Radio should raise few eyebrows. But elsewhere in the country, where the color red features prominently, a conservative voice in the People’s Republic is downright revolutionary.  

“What you guys are doing is so totally amazing,” wrote Audrey, 19, a student at Middle Tennessee State University, on the show’s MySpace page. “I’m just so impressed. I mean to be broadcasting a CONSERVATIVE talk show from BERKLEY… come on that’s amazing. I’ve downloaded your podcast and can’t wait to hear your show! Good luck in your endeavors and God Bless America!” 

Audrey is one of 232 “friends” on the MySpace page. Friends hail from all over the country including Georgia, Texas and Pennsylvania to name a few. 

Marlow and his radio cohorts revel in their cult status as People’s Republic Republicans. 

“It fuels the fire,” Marlow said. “It gives me ammo to talk about on my show and to write about on my blog.” 

“I love being a Republican in Berkeley,” echoed Ethan Lutske, opinion editor of the California Patriot, and aforementioned radio producer and/or manager. “You get the sense that you’re in the club, that you’re on an island on the campus.” 

Lutske, 21, co-founded Patriot Radio with freshman Kyle Tibbitts. Their aim is to channel the university’s growing conservative voice with an underutilized media form.  

“The ultimate goal here is that there’s a medium we have that is untapped,” Lutske said. “A one- or two-hour dialogue is a way to tease out opinions in a more fluid fashion, that’s what radio provides.” 

He added that the production is still in its infancy stage but that there are big plans ahead. Two other talk shows are in the works, one focused on culture and humor, the other a forum for debate. As the programs gain a wider audience, Lutske hopes Patriot Radio takes a seat on live radio. 

“It is lo-fi now,” he said, “but the type of people that we are, we don’t want it to stay that way.”